Ideal Line Combinations 2019-20

Initial Creation Date: Jul 29, 2019
Published: Jul 29, 2019 at 7:34 pm
Team: 2019-20 Tampa Bay Lightning
Legend
Lefthanded
Original Team
Righthanded
Position
No Move/Trade Clause
Expiry Status
Term Remaining
McDavid, Connor
$12,500,000
C
NMC
UFA - 5
Team Explanation
There are some trades I would love to see, but I'm not going to propose any of those because it looks more and more like none will happen, and aside from Kreider (and I have no idea what the Rangers want and if we have any of it), I'm really not sure anyone we can reasonably acquire would compliment us well.

Top line: Point and Kucherov were lethal together and there's no reason to separate them. While the Lightning roster lacks physicality and we've seen that haunt them recently, Point has shown in the past that he knows how to use his speed to attain and maintain puck possession as an offensively prolific shutdown center. Obviously that didn't materialize during the past playoffs, but a large part of that has to do with Kucherov's suspension, which forced him into a line in which he lacked chemistry (in game four, when Kucherov returned, Point scored on the power play). It's also important to note that the line was getting shots (only Stamkos and Cirelli got more than Kucherov). Having now experienced a period of brutal physicality where interference was often unpenalized, overcoming their size is something those two will be better at by the next playoffs. So, they don't need a big player, but they do need someone who will forecheck and be physical while keeping up with their speed. That, to me, is Gourde more so than any other winger on our team. Point and Gourde have looked like a good combination in the past, too.

Second line: This line should probably be the third line, but anyway, Palat is in desperate need of a bounce back season, and pairing him with Johnson could be the way to spark it as the two are very good at elevating each other's play. The "triplets" line, as well as the outstanding Point line in the 2017-18 playoffs saw great success with this pairing. Palat is a physical forward who has been unable to revive that play after a series of unfortunate injuries. This season is his chance. Cirelli has proven to be a very capable shutdown center who can score. We've seen that Palat-Point-Johnson can play well together, and Cirelli is a very similar player to Point with perhaps more of a physical and defensive edge. This line could perform as a great shutdown line with an offensive edge, and that will allow the lines of Stamkos and Kucherov to thrive as they can play a more purely offensive game, and meanwhile, for teams that focus heavily on shutting down the Stamkos and Kucherov lines, this line would be among the hardest third lines to stop. Obviously chemistry is hard to predict, but I think this type of line could work out, and if it does, the Lightning are practically unbeatable.

Third line: Stamkos is gradually merging into a two-way center, but performs best when he's allowed to be a shooter. Joseph is a fast winger who had limited time last year as a new player. He'll get more time on the ice next year, and the worst thing for him would be to stick him in a fourth-line grinder role when he's really a fast, skilled winger. Though Joseph can score, he's also good in supporting roles and could allow Stamkos to thrive as a goal scorer. Meanwhile, Stamkos is a responsible enough player to cover for him. Killorn is underrated here just because he consumes so much cap space on a team that doesn't have much to give, but with Miller gone, he's the closest thing we have to a physical power forward, and I think management tries to force him to play like that more often. Killorn and Stamkos have history together - it worked out well in 2014-15. Killorn hasn't improved since then, and while it looked like Stamkos declined, he appears to be having a resurgence. I think this line has the right pieces to allow Stamkos to maintain that pace, and it doesn't drain talent from other lines.

Fourth line: Paquette is one of the best #4Cs out there, and plays a physical game. He's exactly what the Lightning need in a fourth liner. Raddysh is a big forward who knows how to win physical battles, and putting him in a fourth line role will force him to develop those skills at an NHL level before cap casualties lead to his ascension through the lineup, while allowing the team to limit his ice time until he learns to score at an NHL level. With the way he compliments the Lightning, I think it's very possible that he makes the team. Barre-Boulet is a center, so moving him to the wing could be awkward, but he adds offense to a big, physical, two-way line to build what could be a perfect fourth line. Erne will play instead when we need another grinder more so than we need a small offensive player. Verhaeghe has to be on the lineup or waived, and I doubt the organization wants to lose him, so he would be the first injury replacement and will definitely get a chance at an NHL level.

Defensive pairings: This top-four as our starting lineup is almost certain. McDonagh-Cernak were great all of last season and even through the horrid playoffs, so separating them would be a very questionable decision. Hedman and Sergachev looked brilliant together during flashes last season, and considering our lack of any other appropriate RHD, Sergachev is the only player we can logically put there. Masin is Coburn's sole competition for 3rd LHD, and I don't think Masin is quite ready for NHL play yet, so Coburn gets that spot. Foote will almost certainly get to play some games, but he hasn't looked spectacular enough to warrant no further development, and with the way Schenn is practicing and improving his game, hyperfocused on continuing his career, I think he could be a surprise. He hits relentlessly and wins fights, and if he's serviceable, that's what the Lightning need. So until Foote truly looks NHL-ready (which I don't think will happen for another season), I think Coburn-Schenn is the pairing we use. Rutta would be the injury replacement just to avoid waivers, but we'll probably try to find a way to use Foote as an injury replacement instead (and waiving Rutta is not out of the question).

The goaltending is rather obvious. Vasilevskiy is the best goaltender there is, and he's our undisputed starter. Domingue is looking for a starter role, so as much as I like him, we should trade him while he has any value to a team where he has a chance of supplanting a starter. McElhinney just signed with us, so moving him is a bad look, and he's a perfectly capable backup coming off a great stint in Carolina.
Free Agent Signings
RFAYEARSCAP HIT
Point, Brayden3$7,500,000
Erne, Adam2$1,200,000
Trades
TBL
  1. 2021 3rd round pick (CBJ)
  2. 2020 4th round pick (CBJ)
CBJ
  1. Domingue, Louis
Buyouts
  • Matthew Carle: $1,833,333
  • Vincent Lecavalier: $0
DRAFT YEARROUND 1ROUND 2ROUND 3ROUND 4ROUND 5ROUND 6ROUND 7
2020
TBL
VAN
TBL
TBL
TBL
CBJ
TBL
TBL
TBL
2021
TBL
TBL
TBL
CBJ
TBL
TBL
TBL
TBL
NSH
2022
TBL
TBL
TBL
TBL
TBL
TBL
TBL
ROSTER SIZESALARY CAPCAP HITOVERAGES BONUSESCAP SPACE
23$81,500,000$78,565,922$0$1,362,500$2,934,078

Roster

Left WingCenterRight Wing
TBL
Gourde, Yanni
$5,166,666
RW, LW, C
NTC
UFA - 6
TBL
Point, Brayden
$7,500,000
C, RW
RFA - 3
TBL
Kucherov, Nikita
$9,500,000
RW
UFA - 8
TBL
Palat, Ondrej
$5,300,000
RW, LW
NTC
UFA - 3
TBL
Cirelli, Anthony
$728,333
C
RFA - 1
TBL
Johnson, Tyler
$5,000,000
LW, C, RW
NTC
UFA - 5
TBL
Killorn, Alex
$4,450,000
LW
NTC
UFA - 4
TBL
Stamkos, Steven
$8,500,000
C, LW
NMC
UFA - 5
TBL
Joseph, Mathieu
$728,333
LW, RW
RFA - 1
TBL
Barré-Boulet, Alex
$759,258
C
RFA - 2
TBL
Paquette, Cédric
$1,650,000
C, LW
UFA - 2
TBL
Raddysh, Taylor
$833,333
RW
RFA - 2
Left DefenseRight DefenseGoaltender
TBL
Hedman, Victor
$7,875,000
LD
NMC
UFA - 6
TBL
Sergachev, Mikhail
$894,166
LD
RFA - 1
TBL
Vasilevskiy, Andrei
$3,500,000
G
UFA - 1
TBL
McDonagh, Ryan
$6,750,000
LD
NTC
UFA - 7
TBL
Cernak, Erik
$697,500
RD
RFA - 1
TBL
McElhinney, Curtis
$1,300,000
G
UFA - 2
TBL
Coburn, Braydon
$1,700,000
LD
NTC
UFA - 2
TBL
Schenn, Luke
$700,000
RD
UFA - 1
ScratchesInjured Reserve (IR)Long Term IR (LTIR)
TBL
Erne, Adam
$1,200,000
LW, RW
RFA - 1
TBL
Callahan, Ryan
$5,800,000
RW
NMC NTC
UFA - 1
TBL
Rutta, Jan
$1,300,000
RD
UFA - 1
TBL
Verhaeghe, Carter
$700,000
C, LW
RFA - 1

Special Teams

Power Play 1
Palat, O.
Point, B.
Kucherov, N.
Stamkos, S.
Hedman, V.
Power Play 2
Killorn, A.
Johnson, T.
Gourde, Y.
McDonagh, R.
Sergachev, M.
Penalty Kill 1
Cirelli, A.
Killorn, A.
Hedman, V.
Coburn, B.
Penalty Kill 2
Paquette, C.
Gourde, Y.
McDonagh, R.
Cernak, E.

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Top Comments

Jul 29, 2019 at 7:40
#1
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 694
Likes: 206
Placing Stammer in the 3rd line?

You clearly live up to your username.
Jul 29, 2019 at 7:56
#2
GO BOLTS
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 823
Likes: 221
Very thoughtful. However Stamkos will be moved to wing before he is put on third line. All I have read is that Volkov and Stephans are closer to NHL ready. Volov has almost made the team the last two years and Stephans had a lot of injuries last year so I suspect Volkov makes the team.
Jul 29, 2019 at 8:17
#3
BOLT LOVER
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 1,823
Likes: 320
Stamkos to RW was logical .. as was to trade Gourde for a top 4 RD or top 9 big forward .. Gourde on 1st line? .. does any else see the problem here? .. what a waste of Point and Kuch .. huge drain on the ice and contract
Jul 29, 2019 at 9:38
#4
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 456
Likes: 147
Quoting: TheChief
Placing Stammer in the 3rd line?

You clearly live up to your username.


Quoting: jasalex
Very thoughtful. However Stamkos will be moved to wing before he is put on third line.




I meant to reverse the second and the third line. I mentioned in the description that the second line should be the third line. Stamkos is obviously way better than a #3C. Cooper rolls four lines well anyway, so actual line combinations are more important for him than which lines are 1st, 2nd, 3rd. But Stamkos will have more average ice time than Cirelli barring anything crazy.
Jul 29, 2019 at 9:45
#5
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 456
Likes: 147
Quoting: BOLTLOVER1
Stamkos to RW was logical .. as was to trade Gourde for a top 4 RD or top 9 big forward .. Gourde on 1st line? .. does any else see the problem here? .. what a waste of Point and Kuch .. huge drain on the ice and contract


Stamkos to RW could be interesting. I’m worried about forcing him to adjust to a different style than he’s used to. Wingers are less relied upon for driving play and more expected to participate in puck battles and shoot. Stamkos has shooting figured out, but he seems more inclined to try to drive play and win face offs rather than play the true role of a winger. But on the other hand, maybe that move allows him to ease more into the role of a shooter without having to take on as much extra responsibility.

It’s too late to trade Gourde, and I don’t know of any better options for that line. Perhaps we can keep Johnson there just to keep what works. Palat would work there too if he rebounds, but not until that becomes evident. I personally think Gourde is the best fit we have for that line barring any trades, which I didn’t want to get into here.
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